On July 1st, EERA and its Joint Programmes on Nuclear Materials (JPNM), Advanced Materials and Processes for Energy Applications (JP AMPEA), and Digitalisation for Energy (DfE) kicked off its virtual workshop series Energy Materials for Innovation (EM4I). In this inauguration workshop dedicated to Materials Discovery and Development, nine invited speakers from energy research and industrial communities across Europe presented a wide range of overarching issues for enabling accelerated materials research at the center of Clean Energy Transition.
As main conclusions, the experts participating in the workshop arrived at the following takeaways:
- The European Commission’s proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 sets Europe energy research and technology development on an accelerated path. Advanced materials are a backbone of innovation for achieving climate neutrality by 2050 while ensuring a safer, healthier, and more resilient and prosperous lifestyle for all.
- Such an accelerated materials and technology development requires a systemic, cross-cutting approach that considers the whole value chain from basic research to scale-up production, market acceptance, cost performance, and durability.
- The need for fast and efficient energy materials development is quickly transforming the way we practice our research.
- High throughput materials design has seen great success due to numerical tools such as artificial intelligence. The AI-assisted simulations are powerful in analyzing and screening experimental data where physical models (analytical) lack, enabling fast and efficient screening of candidates via the elimination of less promising materials or discovering novel ones with theoretically interesting properties.
- For numerical simulations (AI-assisted or not) to function, the availability of large sets of experimental data with specific choices of material properties is crucial. High-throughput approaches, such as combinatorial characterization and the use of miniaturized samples, have demonstrated their effectiveness in this regard.
- Experimental data on microstructures and under in-situ/operando conditions are also important for improving models (numerical or analytical) since the properties of the materials are often dependent on such parameters.
- A continuous feedback loop between real data and simulations is the key to delivering breakthrough energy materials and technology on time.
- Once the TRL 5/6 is reached, the materials exploitation issues are no longer technical but socio-economic hinders. This fact underlines the importance of a systems approach and will be treated in the next workshop of the series, From Lab to Engineering. This workshop is foreseen to be held in early October.
You can re-watch the event and the speakers interventions at this link.